2012 Just the Facts

Just the Facts  If you enjoy reading nonfiction books (contemporary issues, history, politics, biography, etc...) then this is the group for you!!!  We meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7pm at the Fishers Library.

2012

January:  (at Carmel Public Library) 

Next Decade: Where We’ve Been…and Where We’re Going by George Friedman.

The next ten years will be a time of massive transition. The wars in the Islamic world will be subsiding, and terrorism will become something we learn to live with. China will be encountering its crisis. We will be moving from a time when financial crises dominate the world to a time when labor shortages will begin to dominate. The new century will be taking shape in the next decade.  In The Next Decade, George Friedman offers readers a pro­vocative and endlessly fascinating prognosis for the immedi­ate future.

February:  (at Fishers)

Sin in the Second City:  Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul by Karen Abbott.

A history of America's most famous brothel, Chicago's Everleigh Club, which catered to some of America's leading moguls, actors, and writers from 1900 to 1911, profiles its aristocratic proprietors and their efforts to elevate the industry to new heights and details the efforts by both rivals and crusading reformers to close the establishment.

March:  At Carmel Public Library   Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 p.m.

Death in Slow Motion:  A Memoir of a Daughter, Her Mother, and the Beast Called Alzheimer’s by Eleanor Cooney: 

When her once-glamorous and witty novelist-mother got Alzheimer's, Eleanor Cooney moved her from her beloved Connecticut home to California in order to care for her. In tense, searing prose, punctuated with the blackest of humor, Cooney documents the slow erosion of her mother's mind, the powerful bond the two shared, and her own descent into drink and despair.   But the coping mechanism that finally serves this eloquent writer best is writing, the ability to bring to vivid life the memories her mother is losing. As her mother gropes in the gathering darkness for a grip on the world she once loved, succeeding only in conjuring sad fantasies of places and times with her late husband, Cooney revisits their true past.  Death in Slow Motion becomes the mesmerizing story of Eleanor's actual childhood; the daring and vibrant mother she remembers; and a time that no longer exists for either of them.

April: At Fishers Public Library  Tuesday, April 10, 7:00 p.m.

Death in the City of Light:  the Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King:

Death in the City of Light is the gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris. As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld.

May:  At Carmel Public Library  Tuesday, May 8, 7:00 p.m.

Fordlandia:  The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Craig Grandin.

The story of the auto magnate's attempt to recreate small-town America, along with a rubber plantation, in the heart of the Amazon details the clash between Ford and the jungle and its inhabitants, as the tycoon attempted to force his will on the natural world.

June 12:  “Johnstown Flood”  by David McCullough  At Fishers Public Library

At the end of the last century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal.

July 10: “Charlatan”  by Pope Brock  At Fishers Public Library

In 1917, John R. Brinkley America's most brazen con man introduced an outlandish surgical method for restoring fading male virility. It was all nonsense, but thousands of eager customers quickly made Dr. Brinkley one of America's richest men and a national celebrity. The great quack buster Morris Fishbein vowed to put the country's most daring and dangerous charlatan out of business, yet each effort seemed only to spur Brinkley to new heights of ingenuity, and the worlds of advertising, broadcasting, and politics soon proved to be equally fertile grounds for his potent brand of flimflam. Culminating in a decisive courtroom confrontation, Charlatan is a marvelous portrait of a boundlessly audacious rogue on the loose in an America ripe for the bamboozling.

August 14:  “The Great Hurricane: 1938”  by Cherie Burns At Fishers Public Library

On the night of September 21,1938, news on the radio was full of the invasion of Czechoslovakia. There was no mention of any severe weather. By the time oceanfront residents noticed an ominous color in the sky, it was too late to escape. In an age before warning systems and the ubiquity of television, this unprecedented storm caught the Northeast off guard, obliterated coastal communities, and killed seven hundred people.  The Great Hurricane: 1938 is a spellbinding hour-by-hour reconstruction of one of the most destructive and powerful storms ever to hit the United States. With riveting detail, Burns weaves together the countless personal stories of loved ones lost and lives changed forever,  from those of the Moore family, washed to sea on a raft formerly their attic floor, to Katharine Hepburn, holed up in her Connecticut mansion, watching her car take to the air like a bit of paper.

September 11:  “Krakatoa:  the Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883”  by Simon Winchester   At Fishers Public Library

The legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa -- the name has since become a byword for a cataclysmic disaster -- was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. Beyond the purely physical horrors of an event that has only very recently been properly understood, the eruption changed the world in more ways than could possibly be imagined. Dust swirled round die planet for years, causing temperatures to plummet and sunsets to turn vivid with lurid and unsettling displays of light. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogota and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims: one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere.

October 9:  “Once Upon a Town:  the Miracle of the North Platte Canteen” by Bob Greene  At Fishers Public Library

During World War II, American soldiers from every city and walk of life rolled through North Platte, Nebraska, on troop trains en route to their ultimate destinations in Europe and the Pacific. The tiny town, wanting to offer the servicemen warmth and support, transformed its modest railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen.  Every day of the year, every day of the war, the Canteen staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers was open from five a.m. until the last troop train of the day pulled away after midnight. Astonishingly, this remote plains community of only 12,000 people provided welcoming words, friendship, and baskets of food and treats to more than six million GIs by the time the war ended.  In this poignant and heartwarming eyewitness history, based on interviews with North Platte residents and the soldiers who once passed through, Bob Greene tells a classic, lost-in-the-mists-of-time American story of a grateful country honoring its brave and dedicated sons.

November 13:  “Into Africa: the Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone”  by Martin Dugard   At Fishers Public Library

In March 1866, Livingstone steered a massive expedition into the heart of Africa. In his path lay nearly impenetrable, uncharted terrain, hostile cannibals, and deadly predators. Within weeks, the explorer had vanished without a trace. Years passed with no word. While debate raged in England over whether Livingstone could be found or rescued from a place as daunting as Africa, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the brash American newspaper tycoon, hatched a plan to capitalize on the world's fascination with the missing legend. He would send a young journalist, Henry Morton Stanley, into Africa to search for Livingstone. A drifter with great ambition, but little success to show for it, Stanley undertook his assignment with gusto, filing reports that would one day captivate readers and dominate the front page of the New York Herald.  Tracing the amazing journeys of Livingstone and Stanley in alternating chapters, author Martin Dugard captures with breathtaking immediacy the perils and challenges these men faced.

December 11: “Locust: the Devestating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier”  by Jeffrey Alan Lockwood  At Fishers Public Library

In 1876, the U.S. Congress declared the locust ?the single greatest impediment to the settlement of the country between Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains.  Throughout the nineteenth century, swarms of locusts regularly swept across the American continent, turning noon into dusk, devastating farm communities, and bringing trains to a halt. The outbreaks subsided in the 1890s, and then, suddenly and mysteriously the Rocky Mountain locust vanished. A century later, entomologist Jeffrey Lockwood vowed to discover why. Locust is the story of how one insect shaped the history of the western United States. A compelling personal narrative drawing on historical accounts and modern science, this beautifully written book brings to life the cultural, economic, and political forces at work in America in the late nineteenth century, even as it solves one of the greatest extinction mysteries of our time.

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